The majority use drones for entertainment, whether it's to take photos from a different perspective, or just wanting to fly it around for fun. Whatever it is, there are a lot more drone related accidents as most people are just learning how to fly them.
Drones can reach the speed of a 140 mph and go as high as 5000 feet in the air! Imagine getting hit walking down the road by one going over a 100 miles per hour. It doesn't take long to realize the damage that could ensue. It also makes it dangerous for the people around the drones. Because the propellers spin so fast, there is a risk of slicing someone's skin. There are also incidents of drones suddenly malfunctioning and falling out of the sky.
This can prove hazardous for whoever ends up being underneath the falling drone! While more and more people purchase drones, the legal framework is struggling to keep up with how to regulate them. Because this is new and evolving technology, new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations governing drones are evolving constantly.
Drone accidents are steadily going up. According to a report dated from August 21st, 2015-January 31st, 2016 there were “three times as many incidents as the same period of the previous year.” In 24 of those incidents, drones flew within 50 feet of a manned aircraft forcing evasive maneuvers in 11 to avoid the drone.
So, while this new technology is quickly finding it's way into our everyday lives. Drone accidents are going up and will continue to do so as people find new ways to use them. Because this is new and evolving technology, new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations governing drones are evolving constantly.
Recreational Drone Regulations
The FAA guidelines on drone recreational use:
- register your drone, mark it on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Never fly the drone above 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace.
- Never fly over any person or moving vehicle.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Don't fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
- Don't operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner.
There are various state laws in addition to the FAA guidelines. Violating these rules may increase the chance that someone will get hurt in a drone-related incident and definitely makes it more likely that the drone operator will be found negligent.
Are there reporting requirements with drones?
If you crashed a drone, there are reporting requirements. Below we will discuss the reporting requirements you make to the FAA and the reporting requirements you make to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) following a drone crash.
- You can contact the NTSB's 24-hour Response Operations Center (ROC) at 844-373-9922 to file a report. A phone call is sufficient initially, but a written follow-up may be required.
- FAA REGIONALOPERATIONS CENTERS. LOCATION WHERE ACCIDENT OCCURRED:
- DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, WV, and VA 404-305-5150
- AL, CT, FL, GA, KY, MA,ME,MS, NC, NH, PR, RI, SC, TN, VI, and VT 404-305-5156
- AK, AS, AZ, CA, CO, GU, HI, ID, MP,MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, and WY 425-227-1999
- AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI,MN,MO, ND, NE, NM, OH, OK, SD, TX, and WI 817-222-5006
- The FAA also has a website known as the drone zone where you can report crashes and do much more.
What should I do after a drone hits me or a loved one?
The steps one should take after a drone accident are similar to a car crash with a couple drone-specific wrinkles:
- If possible, write down the name, contact information, and insurance information of the drone operator, as well as their drone's registration number.
- Write down the name and contact information of any witnesses who saw the incident.
- Document the scene and your injuries with videos and photos.
- Seek medical attention and follow all doctor's orders.
- Keep track of all expenses related to the incident, and retain receipts.
- Contact a drone accident lawyer who can tell you if you are entitled to compensation.
Depending on the nature of your injury or property damage, you may also need to contact your insurance company. But be sure to speak with an attorney and Betz and Baril has the experience and knowledge to help you secure the money you deserve, as the insurance company may not have your best interests at heart.